More about Freedom of Speech and Expression

Section 100 of the Constitution of the Republic of Latvia
Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 19 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights

Freedom of speech and expression includes freedom of views, the right to freely receive and distribute information and ideas without interference on part of public institutions, regardless of the state borders. The right to freedom of expression is the fundament of the right of everyone to express their views without fear from restriction, punishment or prosecution.

Freedom of speech in democratic society is widely construed, and it may only be subject to restriction on extremely exceptional occasions. In addition, freedom of speech includes not only “information” or “ideas” that are perceived as predisposing or neutral but also those that are offensive, shocking or alarming.

At the same time, such human rights are absolute, and they do not mean entitlement to impunity of expression. The State may impose restrictions on such right in certain manner and amount, especially because the exercise of such right involves certain duties and responsibility.